Wolf! Wolf!

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Too slow to chase down a meal, an old Chinese wolf tricks a goatherd, who's cried "Wolf" too many times, into giving him one of his animals. Humorously told from the predator's perspective, this redo of a classic fable will keep kids laughing all the way to the vegetarian-approved ending. Striking paintings add Asian flavor to this deliciously amusing tale. (ages 4 to 7)
-the March 2007 issue of Child magazine
Publishers Weekly
Ably illustrated and imaginatively reconceived, this version of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" stars not the boy, but the wolf. No bloodthirsty brigand, this wolf is an arthritic has-been who's reduced to raising vegetables in a weed-choked garden. The boy's false cries from over the hill raise the wolf's hopes: could this mean a free meal? While children wonder whether the wolf will snag his prey, adults may be intrigued by the story's exotic setting. Under a canopy of wind-swept trees and cherry blossoms, the wolf sports a Chinese silk jacket of the type seen in old Fu Manchu movies, the boy wears a topknot, and the neighbors who complain about the boy's false cries sport queues and silk caps. Rocco (illustrator of Alice by Whoopi Goldberg) creates a world with internal consistency, and his deftly paced long shots and close-ups testify to his previous work in animation (including as art director for Shrek). The wolf smoothly talks the boy out of a goat ("The villagers are only going to believe you if you really are missing a goat. I can help you with that," he says) but, in a beguiling ending, he spares the goat (which has eaten the weeds from his garden). "What's one breakfast," he tells the goat magnanimously, "compared to delicious vegetables for the rest of my days?" The wolf may move slowly, but the story gallops. Rocco substitutes a series of giggles for the traditional finger-pointing moral, a welcome development. Ages 3-7. (Mar.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Denise Daley
The traditional story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf is elegantly retold in this beautifully illustrated children's book. In this updated version of the classic tale, the hungry wolf is too old and too slow to catch animals. Instead he dines on the vegetables that he has been trying to grow in his garden. When he hears a voice calling "wolf," curiosity inspires the old wolf to seek the source of the cries. The hungry wolf is amazed to discover a young boy who is responsible for watching a group of goats. Hidden amongst the weeds, the wolf is not seen. Villagers quickly appear and they are angry with the boy who obviously found humor in summoning them for no apparent reason. The wolf quickly assesses the situation and devises a trick of his own. No one gets eaten in this delightful version of the story and everyone enjoys a delicious meal.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3
This twisted treatment of Aesop's fable flips everything readers know about the boy who cried wolf on its head and ends up where they never would have expected. From the brushstrokes of the hand-lettered title to the pink cherry blossoms featured with the wolf and the boy on the cover, ancient China unfolds as the stage and setting for this story. In this variant, children get a little insight into the wolf's point of view: When the boy cries "WOLF! WOLF!" the slightly deaf animal believes he is being summoned. He feels tricked by the youngster when the angry villagers arrive looking for a menacing creature. The poor animal is only looking for a tasty meal, possibly one of the boy's goats since his garden has fallen into disarray. In the end, the boy gives the old wolf a goat; instead of making him a one-time-only meal, the wolf puts him to work in his garden, and the two become friends. The wolf is a fully anthropomorphized character, complete with red silk jacket and shade umbrella. The purposeful use of frames, unusual setting, and visual humor makes this an excellent addition to any collection and a particularly interesting launching point for many discussions and investigations into fractured tales.
—Genevieve GallagherCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The familiar tale of the boy who cried wolf is relocated to Japan and given a twist at the end. When the wolf grows too old to chase down his food, he turns to gardening. One day, while grousing about the weeding, he hears someone calling him, and in the hopes that it's to share some supper, off he creaks toward the noise. Readers see the age-old story played out from the wolf's point of view, until finally, he finds himself alone with the boy and his goats, and buys the boy some credibility by demanding one of the herd. Rocco makes the most of his setting, creating lush, blossom-filled backgrounds and giving the cranky old wolf a handsome silk tunic and an umbrella. The striking design varies full- or double-page spreads with white space, across which blossoms float and goats wander; figures in the foreground frequently break the frame, thrusting foliage and characters directly into the reader's space. And the twist? Once the wolf gets the goat home, he discovers that a goat can be a welcome presence in a weedy garden. Good-humored fun all around. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423100126
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 2/20/2007
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 298,239
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.87 (w) x 11.25 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

John Rocco (www.roccoart.com) studied illustration at Rhode Island School of Design and The School of Visual Arts. In addition to writing and illustrating four of his own picture books, including the New York Times best-selling and Caldecott Honor-winning and New York Times bestselling Blackout, he has created all of the cover art for Rick Riordan's best-selling Percy Jackson, Kane Chronicles, and Heroes of Olympus series. He has also illustrated books by Whoopi Goldberg and Katherine Patterson. Before becoming a full-time children's book creator, he worked as an art director on "Shrek" for Dreamworks, and for Disney Imagineering. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.

John Rocco (www.roccoart.com) studied illustration at Rhode Island School of Design and The School of Visual Arts. In addition to writing and illustrating four of his own picture books, including the New York Times best-selling and Caldecott Honor-winning and New York Times bestselling Blackout, he has created all of the cover art for Rick Riordan's best-selling Percy Jackson, Kane Chronicles, and Heroes of Olympus series. He has also illustrated books by Whoopi Goldberg and Katherine Patterson. Before becoming a full-time children's book creator, he worked as an art director on "Shrek" for Dreamworks, and for Disney Imagineering. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.

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